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Posted at 9:00 AM ET, 03/ 2/2010

Forecast: A mix of wet & white from ocean storm

By Matt Rogers

Light rain & snow late today into tomorrow

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Today's Daily Digit
A somewhat subjective rating of the day's weather, on a scale of 0 to 10.
4Clouds return and evening precipitation could slow the rush hour commute. Groan.
Get tomorrow's 'Digit' on Twitter tonight


Today: Clouds thicken, chance of light rain in the afternoon. 40-44. | Tonight: Light rain and snow. 32-35. | Tomorrow: Light snow and rain. 35-40. | A Look Ahead | Get Express Forecast by E-mail


Last week, the storm mostly missed us to the north and this week a storm will largely miss us to the south and east. This latest close call will mainly result in nuisance precipitation that should not prevent travel -- only slow it a bit due to wet roadways and limited visibilities from light precipitation. Our cold-air supply will be marginal, so that any snow accumulations on roadway surfaces will be minimal, though we could see a coating on grassy areas Tuesday night or Wednesday morning. Below-normal temperatures will follow our near-miss storm, but I do see signs of milder March-like weather by the weekend!

Radar: Latest regional radar shows movement of precipitation over past three hours. Powered by HAMweather. Refresh page to update. Click here or on image to enlarge. Or see radar bigger on our Weather Wall.

Today (Tuesday): Mostly cloudy skies this morning will gradually thicken through the day and we may see some scattered light precipitation develop between early afternoon and early evening from southwest to northeast (40% chance). What will this precipitation be? With highs in the low-to-mid 40s, we would probably see rain showers initially, but we could see some snow mix in at times, particularly toward evening and north and west of the beltway. Breezes should be coming from the northeast at 5-10 mph. Confidence: Medium

Tonight: Light rain and snow are likely tonight. During moderate periods the precipitation should change to mostly snow as the night wears, the change occuring earliest as you head north and west of the beltway. Accumulations should only range from a coating to at most an inch on grassy surfaces, but roads should stay mainly wet. (There's still a 20-30% chance the storm track is further north, which would produce more snow, but unlikely anything too disruptive). Lows could near freezing in the far western/northwestern suburbs, but most areas should remain warmer -- around the mid-30s. Winds will be from the north increasing to 10-20 mph toward morning. Confidence: Medium

Keep reading for the forecast through the weekend...

Tomorrow (Wednesday): Low pressure will be pulling away from the mid-Atlantic coast, but lingering instability means likely periods of light snow and rain. If you combine the moisture, gusty winds from the north at 10-20 mph and the clouds, it will be a chilly, raw day overall. Most areas should indeed stay in the mid-to-upper 30s. Confidence: Medium

Tomorrow Night: Clearing skies are expected late at night as the low really moves away from the East Coast. Winds will also calm back down. Look for lows 30-34 (highest readings downtown). Confidence: Medium


Thursday and Friday look like very similar days right now -- partly cloudy and colder than normal, but dry. Highs should be in the low-to-mid 40s with lows ranging from the upper 20s in the outer suburbs all the way to the mid-30s in the city. Confidence: Medium-High

The weekend is looking smashing right now with warmer weather and sunshine. Sunday is my personal favorite as increasing signs of southwest flow suggest we could make a run at the upper 50s or even 60. Saturday should see low-to-mid 50s. Both days I expect lows in the 30s. Confidence: Low-Medium

By Matt Rogers  | March 2, 2010; 9:00 AM ET
Categories:  Forecasts  
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Next: The varying predictability of snowstorms


I like that weekend forecast. We can sure use the sun and warmth.

Posted by: david_in_stafford | March 2, 2010 5:05 AM | Report abuse

I knew it! ...the Feds getting those two extra, ludicrous delayed openings following the blizzards doomed us to not get hit by the last and tomorrow's storms :(

Posted by: kolya02 | March 2, 2010 6:10 AM | Report abuse

Yep, kolya, it's the olllld fed workforce tardiness anti-icyprecip bad karma juju function, which states (in part): "anytime slugging fed automatons have waaaay more time to get to work that they need, future winter storms will be reduced in size/fierceness by a factor of 4".

Posted by: wrytous | March 2, 2010 6:45 AM | Report abuse

Boo! Hiss!

Posted by: Snowlover2 | March 2, 2010 6:57 AM | Report abuse

Can we even get measurable snow this late in the season with our upward trending temps?

Posted by: tressoleilgoddess | March 2, 2010 7:00 AM | Report abuse

Yes, we can get measurable snow even into early April, but usually it is on the light side (an inch or two). We did have a 4.8" storm on March 20, 1958 though.

Posted by: MattRogers | March 2, 2010 7:06 AM | Report abuse

boy, so this is it, huh...? march comes in like a boring lamb...'s gonna rain a bit...

we're (i'm) reduced to clinging to that "20-30% chance the storm track is further north, which would produce more snow, but unlikely anything too disruptive"?!?!

sheesh, even if it pans out it won't be "disruptive"... and i'm seeing lots of 50s for the near future...

i was hoping to make a spring-themed sculpture - like a flower or a robin on the nest or a robin pulling a worm out of the ground or something... oh well...

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | March 2, 2010 7:08 AM | Report abuse

What a yucky weekend forecast. Now that the sun is getting stronger I'll have to stock up on the spf 45 and limit my time outdoors. Skin cancer sucks...

Posted by: ftwash | March 2, 2010 7:09 AM | Report abuse

so, i understand they're predicting temps too warm to snow for the next 9 months. any idea when you'll be issuing your '10-'11 long-range winter forcast...?

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | March 2, 2010 7:11 AM | Report abuse

Loving that weekend forecast. Can't wait to get outdoors and enjoy some SUN!

Posted by: ThinkSpring | March 2, 2010 7:21 AM | Report abuse

That is to bad i was hoping for one last big storm. im crossing my fingers for that 20-30 percent chance

Posted by: snowlover31 | March 2, 2010 7:24 AM | Report abuse

gang if the storm was to track farther north how much snow are we talking about

Posted by: snowlover31 | March 2, 2010 7:25 AM | Report abuse

Hi Walter, who are "they"? I still believe we will see some snow chances between now and the end of March as we see a variable month ahead. Regarding next winter, there is a chance we could keep a weak El Niño in place, which would support a snowier-than-normal winter. Back in the late 1950s to 1970s, back-to-back El Niño winters were more common and it seems as though we are seeing some similarities to that time frame. I'll be watching that closely over the summer.

Posted by: MattRogers | March 2, 2010 7:35 AM | Report abuse

Snowlover, if the storm edged closer to our area, we could see a few inches possible mainly on grassy surfaces. We are also lacking a significant high pressure to the north that would wedge in more significant cold to accumulate more snow at colder temperatures and higher ratios.

Posted by: MattRogers | March 2, 2010 7:38 AM | Report abuse

I may be an unrepentant snowlover, but I love Spring, too. Looking forward to the weekend!

Posted by: ChickenLady | March 2, 2010 7:42 AM | Report abuse

hey Matt (of CWG),
i guess "they" is just sort of "weathermen" in general and "climatology" in general.

oh, sure, i'd LOVE to be surprised. i just see temp predictions for the next 10 days with highs in the 50s and lows in the 30s (occasionally the 20s).

is there any specific storm system i should have an eye on for this year?

re next season's forcast: i was kind of joking about that, but it's great to hear that we could have another weak el-nino, which i understand is the prime snow-producing pacific ocean configuration.

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | March 2, 2010 7:49 AM | Report abuse

Walter, I hear you. I don't see a specific storm threat currently for the next ten days, but we are expecting another push of Canadian air in the 11-15 day that could set the stage for something toward mid-March.

Posted by: MattRogers | March 2, 2010 7:58 AM | Report abuse

CWG, any idea how much WIND we might have this weekend, along with the sunshine? Could I hope for some steady W/SW at 10kt?

Posted by: --sg | March 2, 2010 8:06 AM | Report abuse

so, were getting SNOW on the 13th-17th!?!?!?!? ;-) i propose, if we've got to name that storm, we name it MARCH MADNESS!

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | March 2, 2010 8:12 AM | Report abuse

sg, there is some uncertainty about winds at this point, but right now, it looks like Saturday should mostly be northerly at 10-15, but then Sunday has the better shot at west or northwest at around 5-10. Otherwise, we get a better southwest flow by Mon-Tue.

Posted by: MattRogers | March 2, 2010 8:13 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, Matt! I'll take N/NW too.

Posted by: --sg | March 2, 2010 8:18 AM | Report abuse

CWG, are ya'll going to do anything to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the launch of TIROS, the first weather satellite, on April 1, 1960?

Maybe an April 1 snowfall of 4" (no foolin'...)?

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | March 2, 2010 8:31 AM | Report abuse

I like that 20-30%.

Posted by: B-Kraemer | March 2, 2010 8:41 AM | Report abuse

I'm looking for a map of total snowfall in the 2009-2010 season for the U.S. or even the eastern U.S. Could someone help me???

Posted by: bryanduncan | March 2, 2010 8:42 AM | Report abuse

Bryan, I haven't seen a map like that but think it would be really cool. Perhaps one of my colleagues at CWG can help, especially Brian?

Posted by: MattRogers | March 2, 2010 8:58 AM | Report abuse

Bryan and Matt, I don't know of any map like that currently. The closest thing I know of would be the SNOTEL network, but that's only for the western states.

Posted by: Brian-CapitalWeatherGang | March 2, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

This talk of no snow in March is bothering me. Wasn't there a big March storm in the early 1990s that came from the south? I remember a rather significant accumulation. I am even thinking that was a storm with blizzard conditions, but it may be my memory that is fading... (I do remember clearly that I was suppose to go on a hiking trip in the Smokies the last weekend in March and it got snowed out!)

Posted by: erbele | March 2, 2010 9:51 AM | Report abuse

I need snow so I can continue to procrastinate on my taxes.

Posted by: celestun100 | March 2, 2010 9:52 AM | Report abuse

is this about the time the model-readers and radar-watchers should start saying things like, "whoa! look at the latest run or loop. this one's not behaving like it's supposed to. it's coming right at us! quick salt the roads!"?

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | March 2, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Walter, lol, I think it is about that time. ;-)

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | March 2, 2010 9:58 AM | Report abuse

I just read the article on the Jan24-25 surprise snow. Thanks , CWG, for posting that. Wouldn't it be nice?

Posted by: celestun100 | March 2, 2010 9:58 AM | Report abuse

"but we are expecting another push of Canadian air in the 11-15 day that could set the stage for something toward mid-March."

Matt - Isn't this kinda pushing the outer limits for accumuluating snow? Yes, I know about March 13, 1993, but those events are rare. I know that generally, for DC metro, the ides of March is considered closing time for accumulating snow. Do you have a different time period in mind?

Posted by: ThinkSpring | March 2, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Well, hey, at least we can get the salt off our cars this weekend.

Posted by: ah___ | March 2, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: deag | March 2, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

bryanduncan, Matt and Bryan

It's not yet been updated for the 09-10 winter, but the seasonal snowfall totals, as well as individual monthly amounts, eventually can be found here

Posted by: SteveT-CapitalWeatherGang | March 2, 2010 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Check out the 12 UTC GFS! Its brings the low a lot closer to the coast

Posted by: where_is_snowmonster | March 2, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Steve, that link isn't working. Where would I find it at NCDC?

Posted by: Brian-CapitalWeatherGang | March 2, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

So how is the GFS initialization stacking up against whats being observed? The NAM still has the low out farther west with a glancing blow to to NE. The GFS would slam the major cities (NYC, and especially Boston etc) with a big dump of snow. I wonder if this may be another one of those "surprise" storms.

Posted by: where_is_snowmonster | March 2, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Nevermind, I found it.

Posted by: Brian-CapitalWeatherGang | March 2, 2010 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Sorry, snowmaniacs... but "Here Comes the Sun" little darlings! ;) Cue it up!

Posted by: nocando | March 2, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse


We're carefully tracking model shifts and observations and will have an update around 3:30 p.m. We see the west trend on the GFS but probably not far enough west to warrant a major change in the forecast. If the trend continues, however, and other models jump on board -- supported by radar/obs, then we may have to revisit our current forecast. Stay tuned.

Posted by: CapitalWeatherGang | March 2, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

After the first week of March, most of the remaining snow tends to come as flurries in cold air streams following storm passage.

Significant snows tend to happen after dark in below-freezing conditions. The big issue seems to be that the normal MINIMUM temperature on March 1st starts going above 32F or zero Celsius. I think we are "doomed" by all this bare grass that's starting to replace the snowpack...was hoping earlier that cool temperatures might keep much of the snowpack in place after March 1st, holding temperatures down.
Crocus flowers are also beginning to show up and it's hard to get ground freezing this late as well.

We now may need to wait until Dec. 5, 2010 for our next big snow...but I'm still hoping for a bonus snow this month.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | March 2, 2010 11:45 AM | Report abuse

There's a snow cover Google Earth overlay:

Posted by: Groff | March 2, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Simulated radar from NAM model's 12 UTC run. Close call...

Posted by: tengoalyrunr30 | March 2, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse


If I were a forecaster up in NYC or Boston I'd be sweating bullets right now (though they have some more time on their side than we do here further south). If the GFS westward trend continues, they'll see the increasing possibility of heavy enough precip to cool the surface down enough for significant accumulation. We are not out of the woods here in the D.C. area yet, but would still need a pretty significant shift west with the storm (in order to start talking accumulations of over an inch on road surfaces) beyond the west trend that's already occurred. Though even with the current track, far northern/western suburbs (Frederick County, western Loudoun County) could be cold enough for accumulations (both grass and roads) of up to a couple inches. -Dan, CWG

Posted by: CapitalWeatherGang | March 2, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Ok, so I never request a specific forecast... but I am going to just this ONCE. What are the odds a nice warming trend in a couple weeks? I am getting married on the 20th and would love some pleasant outdoor photos if possible! My vote is for either 65-70 and sunny or beautiful snow. See if you can make that happen, ok? :)

Posted by: AnneinSand | March 2, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Three wheels have fallen off. Just need one more.

Posted by: ntrlsol | March 2, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

come on shift a little more west

Posted by: snowlover31 | March 2, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

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